Work Outfits with Black Heels

classic work outfit ideas with black pumpsWe just rounded up a ton of great black heels for interviews and beyond — and they’re such a basic, versatile piece in your work wardrobe you hopefully don’t need TOO many ideas for how to wear them to work.  Still, I thought it would be fun to come up with a few work outfit ideas, including a very conservative/classic interview outfit.

The Very Conservative Interview Outfit

The ultimate goal of any interview outfit is to not have your clothes distract from your resume, your accomplishments, and your words.  Note that your heels should be walkable — enough so that you can trek to a restaurant two blocks away (and back) in comfort. If you’re buying your first suit, do check out our recent roundup of suits for every budget, as well as The Corporette Guide to Interview Suits!

A note on pants suits vs. skirt suits:  Skirt suits used to be considered the most formal option, but pants suits are accepted almost everywhere these days.  (Stay tuned — we’ll do a poll very soon to get a broader voice on the topic.) Still, there are benefits to the skirt suit that make it worth discussing. First, if you’re buying a budget suit, it’s FAR easier to find a skirt that looks good by itself than suiting pants that look good by themselves.  Second, if you’re buying suiting separates, I always think you should seriously consider buying all of the pieces that are offered — and hey, you’ve got to wear the skirt suit sometime, right? (Pro tip: don’t forget to dryclean your suiting separates together, too, so the wear is consistent.) Finally: if it’s raining, snowing, or other nasty weather, I’ve always preferred a skirt or dress — nothing’s worse than wet pant hems! (Proper rainboots are great for your regular commute, but if you’re going to have limited options for changing shoes once you arrive, you may want to read our old advice on how to interview in a snowstorm.)

classic interview outfit

Pictured: Blazer / Blouse / Skirt // Watch / Pearls / Earrings / Pantyhose* // Heels /  Tote*

* On sale as part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale — see all of our #nsale workwear picks here!

Work Outfit Idea with Block Heels

Block heels are super trendy right now, and you can wear them with everything from skirts, ankle pants, dresses, suits, and more.  I’m a fan of the all-black outfit, though I do like to have a little pop of color in a lipstick or accessory.  Here, I’m showing it with a pop of color with lipstick as well as a fabulous pink watch from Kate Spade, an inverted bun from our roundup of easy updos for work (so easy, even I can do it!), and, just for kicks, a diamond brooch.  Brooches go in and out of trendiness, but I always think they’re a classic, stylish look — with a higher neckline like this dress, I’d wear the brooch high on my shoulder, next to my clavicle bones. Obviously, it’s easy to swap out a different brooch, a different color of metal, or go another way entirely.

work outfit idea with block heels


Pictured: Watch /  Earrings / Brooch / Dress* / Inverted BunLipstick (Ruby Woo) / Heels

Business Casual Work Outfit Idea

For the last outfit I wanted to use the evergreen color we saw so much of in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but with a late summer/early fall vibe.  Even though dark green looks great with navy, dark charcoal, and even deep purple, a lighter way to style it is with a great white or light gray blouse, with a few pops of a dusty pink.  I often talk about a nice round necklace for some of your outfits — this “beaded collar” necklace that’s part of the Nordstrom sale looks perfect.

business casual work outfit

Pictured: Sweater (here also) / Pants (deep discount today) / Necklace (LOVE!)* / Blouse (on sale!) / Wristlet* / Heels / Watch

* On sale as part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

Ladies, what’s your favorite way to wear black pumps? What’s your classic interview outfit, how do you feel about all black outfits, and what colors do you like to wear with evergreen? 



  1. Star Light, Star Bright :

    Oooo, I love these outfits! Fun ideas.

    Shopping challenge for those who like that… I am looking for a yellow gold (not plated, actual gold) necklace with two gold stars on it, a bigger one, and a smaller one, to symbolize a couple of incredibly difficult situations I’ve been through lately that I’m proud of how I handled. Budget is ~$500, but I’m flexible if I find something really amazing.

    • This was a tough one.

      I could find 1 star necklaces and 3-star, but no 2-star necklaces made with real gold.

      I know you said not plated, but this one is cute and the only 2-star I could find:

    • No specific suggestions, but this sounds like something you could commission on Etsy. Why don’t you try and find a designer who works with gold and have them sketch something for you?

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I’ve had good luck approaching designers on Etsy who do something similar to what I’m looking for and getting them to make a custom piece for me. Highly recommend this approach.

    • Etsy?


    • Senior Attorney :!3510!3!{creative}!{matchtype}!{placement}!{network}!!{keyword}&e[email protected]:20160719174952:s

      • Senior Attorney :

        Oops first one is gold plate. Meant to post this one:

  2. Passive aggression rant :

    I’m a junior Biglaw associate and typically my assistant and I get along very well. But she has some passive aggressive communication tendencies that really grate on me. For example, our time sheets are due weekly. Instead of telling me, “Remember, your time sheets are due today,” she routinely asks me, “Will you have time entries today?” Of course the answer is yes– they’re due today. I usually just say “yes” but lately I’ve started saying “Of course” or, “Yes, I know when they are due.” But every week she asks the rhetorical question. This morning I emailed her saying, “I know they are due and will send them to you later today.” I just walked by her desk and she again asked me, “Will you have time sheets?” YES, I ALREADY TOLD YOU I WOULD. I’m sure she thinks she’s giving me a helpful reminder but instead I just feel nagged. A second example: if I ask her to do something post-5:00 she will say, “Do you know it’s [TIME] and I leave at 5:30?” instead of just saying, “I don’t think I can finish this before 5:30.” Is this something I just need to shut up and put up with? Is there a better way to deal? In general, I have a very direct communication style and passive aggression annoys me to no end.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I don’t think that sounds out of line or passive aggressive. It sounds indirect, maybe, but it’s entirely possible she’s trying to be deferential (see: Senior Attorney’s Rule of Life No. 7: Presume Good Intentions). I think you should chalk this up to “that’s how she communicates” and let it go.

      • Senior Attorney :

        So funny, because if it were me I think I’d be more annoyed by my assistant being all bossy and saying “Remember, your time entries are due today.” I’d be all “I KNOW THAT!!!” Until, of course, I forgot.

        And I feel like lawyers often lose track of time so “Do you know it’s 5:15 and I leave at 5:30” seems perfectly reasonable to me because my answer would often be “OMG I had no idea!”

        • +1. I lose track of time all of the time. I have told my assistant, if I give her something right before she is supposed to leave to make sure I know that and see if I want her to do it tomorrow or stay late. She was just staying late and I had no idea. I was just giving her stuff to do the next day or had no idea of the time when I gave it to her.

      • Anonymous :

        I would find “Remember your time is due today” way more off-putting coming from an assistant than “Do you have time sheets today?” I think she is trying to speak to you in a deferential way, and you are criticizing her for being passive-aggressive. Good grief! She can’t win.

      • My life is so much better now that I’ve adopted that rule. Even if people don’t always have good intentions, it makes almost everything better when you assume they do.

    • Is this the hill you want to die on?

    • You’re a 1st, 2nd or 3rd yr. Get over it. I’m sorry but these are life long assistants who have seen EVERY stripe of associate come through. Some associates and some partners aren’t careful about submitting time when due; at my shop it’s monthly and some wait until the last moment of the last hr and then expect assistants to get it done instantly when they may be entering it for 3-4 people. As for — I leave at 5:30; also very common for people who work 9-5 and aren’t getting overtime.

      Reality is she’s been around longer than you and doesn’t think you’re any kind of hotshot as a junior; and if you lecture or email or talk to her about communication style — you give reasons for her to dislike you more (I suspect she already may not love you). Assistants can make your life at a firm much better so treat them well — and word gets around so if you think you can lecture this woman bc you’re going to move offices in 2 months anyway, don’t be shocked if your next assistant treats you the same.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Kids today, man…


      • I would be a little more forgiveing to this young associate. Yes, the assistant has been there and done that, but there ARE times when the assistant can be way to bossy. In my office, Lynn got very bossy, especialy after she started haveing sex with Mason. I did NOT apreciate her telling me how to do thing’s just b/c she was dateing MY associate, who we finaly had to let go b/c he never passed the bar. I think the OP should be given some leeway b/c of the fact she IS admitted to the Bar (not sure where), so she should get SOME respect from the assistant. I hope that make’s some sense. YAY!!!!

    • For me, this doesn’t sound so much passive aggressive so much as clueless or failing miserably at being helpful.

      For the first, I’d just sit down with her and say “You ask me every week if I’ll have my timesheets will be ready. I’ve told you repeatedly that I know when they’re due and I’ll take care of it. Is there a reason you think I’ll miss the deadline?”

      She’ll likely stutter an excuse, so then just respond with “I know how important it is to get those time sheets submitted, so I do not need a reminder in the future. I’d prefer you focus your efforts on your other tasks”

      For the second, I would tell you know when she leaves and you expect her to be able to manage her time on her own. If she cannot accomplish a task by end of the day, you’d appreciate you letting her know if it’s a priority, otherwise it’s expected she’d finish it when she’s back in the next morning.

      • (I missed the part where you’re in law–my bad for reading too fast and missing details. I defer to the ladies who have law experience as that’s clearly out of my realm. My response would be for the marketing admins I’ve known who have been way too into people’s business)

      • Senior Attorney :

        If you do this she will hate you. And she will rejoice when you inevitably don’t get your timesheets in.

        • Anonymous :


          And someone has probably told her to remind you.

        • Yeah this is not the way to do it. She is trying to be helpful and it may annoy you, but it is her job to assist you. She cannot crawl into your brain and submit your time; she can only remind you to do so. And because she likely is not paid overtime, she would like to get them done asap so that she is not scrambling to do them all at once. Consider also, that others may be bugging her about it (Accounting, managing partners, for example).

          As for the end of the day, this sounds easily fixable like so: “I know it’s late in the day, so no rush on this…” or “I know it’s late, can you coordinate with the evening secretary to get this addressed for me in the next hour?” She assumes you know her schedule but it sounds like you are not telling her the deadlines/what to prioritize.

          Assume the best and thank her.

        • Cornellian :

          Oh, god, I would definitely not do that.

      • I retract my apparently terrible advice–do what the others said :)

    • Agree with SA. Also, some practical advice –

      On the timesheets, my guess is she is trying to plan her day and this is her way of a gentle reminder. If your firm is like mine, she works for multiple attorneys who will be sending her time sheets, probably all at around the same time (at the end of the day), when they realize the deadline is approaching, meaning she has to scramble at closing time to get them done. If you know it’s coming, and you’re always prepared, why don’t you set up a time every week for her to come to your office and pick them up? Put it in your calendars. This way you don’t feel like she’s always reminding you of something you know you need to do, and she can rely on getting your timesheet at a regular time.

      As for the second issue, seems to me she is just seeking clarification. Are you giving her a deadline when you assign a task? So if you give her an assignment post- 5:00pm, why don’t you say when you give it to her – “I need this done before you leave today please. Let me know if that will not work with your schedule.” Or let her know, “I realize it’s 5:15pm, so you can get this to me tomorrow.” If you share this upfront when you give an assignment, I think your problem is solved.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      I get how it’s annoying you…but I don’t think she’s offside. There is probably same partner (or douchey junior) who took issue with her more assertive language.

      I’d just take the opportunity to encourage good work habits on both your sides. “Thanks X – could you diarize the deadline in my calendar in the future?” instead of “Yes, I know” and learn to specify deadlines when giving assignments (to anyone, not just your assistant). Unless it’s clear to her (in lit, for example, if I’m giving her a motion record, she knows when it has to go out because she’s in charge of keeping track of those deadlines), everything should come with an ideal deadline, confirmed when you speak with the assignee.

    • Anonymous :

      Wow, I have a totally different read on this behavior than you do. I would not interpret this as passive-aggression. It seems like she is trying to be polite. Especially with saying “Do you know it’s [TIME] and I leave at 5:30” I would definitely interpret that as her being hesitant to tell you point blank that she can’t get it done by 5:30. At my former BigLaw firm, assistants were labeled as having a bad attitude if they just refused to do something, so I think she’s trying to tell you no, without outright saying no. I understand why it’s annoying to you, but it’s pretty understandable to me (and I think associates play the same game with partners to some extent). When you send her something after 5 pm, I would either say “This isn’t urgent, feel free to do it tomorrow” (if you’re going to need her to stay late and put in overtime to get something done, you need to ask way before 5 pm). That should hopeful eliminate her need to clarify that she has to leave at 5:30.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yeah, I sort of feel like that should be standard when giving work close to going-home time.

      • Agreed. All of her responses actually sound like things we would recommend around here to someone who is frustrated with her boss for asking for a lot of things at the last minute.

        If the hours thing in particular is irritating, I like the idea of putting a meeting request on both your calendars.

    • Passive aggression rant :

      Nope, certainly not a hill I want to die on and I know that lecturing her would be inappropriate. I thought an email in the morning telling her I’m aware of the deadline would be a good strategy to head it off, but apparently not. I guess this is something to let go.

    • This isn’t passive aggressive at all. Tons of attorneys miss the deadline. She actually sounds like a dream. Start getting her your hours at the beginning of the day if it bothers you so much but honestly you sound like the passive aggressive one a bit?

    • If my assistant didn’t constantly bug me, I’d fail miserably. She is totally passive aggressive but better than being mean about it!

      For me, if I don’t get something in to her, I have to stay and do it and can’t bill for that so just appreciate she isn’t letting anything fall through the cracks!

      I used to enter the time sheets at the end of the month and one attorney would give me the entire month at 4:45 p.m. on the last day. He was the biggest jerk about my (very nice! and not passive aggressive!) reminders but I always had to stay until one day I was out and some other more senior assistant saw how it was handled and complained.

      • Passive aggression rant :

        An ENTIRE MONTH with 15 or 45 minutes left in the day? That guy is a jerk. No, I’m giving her the week’s time sheets, say, late morning or early afternoon. And they are in a format she can copy/paste into the time entry system.

        I may as well just get my sh!t together earlier in the day and send them to her first thing in the morning, of course. Then she wouldn’t have to ask. Sigh.

    • lucy stone :

      Could you ask her if she is getting nagged about timesheets? I have a report I have to file every two weeks and my paralegal routinely reminds me to do it because if it’s not submitted three hours early she starts getting angry emails and phone calls from the department we submit it to. Once I found that out, I made a more conscious effort to get it done quickly.

  3. Anyone else find it odd to have “suggestions of how to wear black heels”? Black heels seem to me to be the one thing nobody needs help styling. It’s the rest of the outfit that I focus on (granted, Kat did too), and black heels are the afterthought as I walk out of the house.

  4. (Former) Clueless Summer :

    Recommendations for comfy suede d’orsay flats for wideish feet – go! I think d’orsay flats are like THE THING in my city for office wear/the commute and I expect that to last until boot season. I have slightly wide forefeet (most of my round toe pumps are regular width but pointed toes kill me) and like comfortable shoes. Has anyone with wide feet had any success with d’orsay flats without getting foot muffin top?

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I ordered two pairs of the Nine West Osillyyou flats ( from 6 pm and I find them very comfy. I don’t think my feet are particularly wide but I like a little extra room, and they deliver. They also weren’t too pricey, which might be good if you’re considering commuting in them.

Add a Comment

Thank you for commenting. On the off chance that your comment goes to moderation, note that a moderation message will only appear if you enter an email address. If you have any questions please check out our commenting policy.

work fashion blog press mentions